Life has been disrupted and the consequences may be dire for many people across the globe. Anxiety and even panic are common reactions, so we must take care that we don’t become traumatised and that we remain well mentally. However, we may have to face up to the fact that some of the activities that we have used in the past to create calm and to keep balanced – the gym, socialising with pals, arts performances, sports events etc. – are off-limits, so we must find alternatives or risk frustration and worse.
All is not lost. The trick is to re-locate our calm havens, our places to go to in the storm of events surrounding us. Here are some actions we can take to adapt our old favourites for the changed circumstances.
- Get a fix of art. Lose yourself in a good book: try The Overstory by Richard Powers. And it is still possible to visit an art gallery or stately home – online, that is. Try this site, arts & culture.
“This is a time when we need art more than ever” Ben Okri
- Keep in touch. Make full use of the latest free technology to check in with friends and family, to support each other and share thoughts, feelings and stories. Even if you’re a novice, free apps like skype, facetime or zoom are an easy option.
- Do something new. Keep your mind active and step out of your comfort zone by learning Spanish, trying different recipes or whatever else has been on your to-do list but never made it to the top.
- Keep moving. Staying physically fit will be good for your mind too - there are lots of home-workouts to try and, though team games are not an option, take advantage of opportunities to walk or run outside.
- Turn off the news. Being up to date is fine but beware the trap of overdosing yourself! Keep watching/listening/scrolling but 5 minutes three times per day may be all you need.
- Create a new routine. Maintain a consistent sleep/wake pattern. Make sure you have regular, nutritious meals. Set a few manageable goals each day.
- Ask for help. Reach out if you’re feeling low. Talk to friends or family and, if need be, look for online
This situation may continue for a long time, so be prepared to make the necessary adjustments. Taking care, reducing stress and creating calm for ourselves and others will make us mentally stronger and more resilient.